You Say It’s Your Birthday…

There are certain days of the year to which we attach expectations of how we believe it should be. New Year’s Eve. Valentine’s Day. A birthday. And, when those days don’t go as we planned, and our expectations are shattered, we can be devastated.

I have lived much of my life in fear of being alone. I always hated it and did anything humanly possible to keep myself busy; surrounded by friends and family. I’m not sure why, but I was never comfortable in my own company – I despised it – and so I tap danced. It’s only in recent years, by necessity, that I have learned to be content and at peace in my solitude.

But, even as evolved as I like to believe I have become, the prospect of being alone on my birthday rattled me.

My birthday week began celebrating with lifelong friends and was slated to close with another group party.

But, on the actual day, as fate would have it, I was going to be alone.

I had scheduled a lunch date with a childhood friend. But, when I woke up that morning, I found a text from her informing me that we had to cancel since she wasn’t feeling well.

As I read that text, a childlike feeling rushed over me and I felt a knot in my stomach – the realization set in – I was going to spend my entire birthday by myself.

I work from home so there wasn’t going to be any encounters with co-workers.

I had refused other invitations for the day because I had made plans with this friend.

My kids had work and school commitments that would run late into the evening.

And, my best friend, who usually makes sure there is a cake for me, had to retrieve her daughter from the airport.

There was going to be no cake, no family, no friends, no coworkers, no celebration dinner. Nothing. I wondered how I would get through the next 16 hours of my “special” day alone.

Tears welled in my eyes and I felt myself going down that slippery slope of self pity. In was in that moment that I pulled myself back and decided that if I was going to have a “special” day, it was up to me to make it so.

I decided that I was going to have the day of MY dreams.

After completing a few work assignments, I scheduled a massage, followed by a pedicure, and a shopping spree – my favorite activities. As I went through the day, I realized that I didn’t have to answer to or accommodate anyone – I got to do all the things that I wanted to do. It was amazing! I actually enjoyed celebrating me!

When I returned home, just when I was about to order dinner from my favorite restaurant, my son surprised me with a meal. Because I didn’t expect it, it was the icing on the cake!

So, if you are finding yourself alone on your birthday, try this:

• Carve out a chunk of time for yourself that day. Put all responsibilities aside and make it about you.

• Get up, dress up, and show up. You don’t need anyone else to make you feel special. It’s an inside job so get moving.

• Decide what you would like as a present and buy it for yourself. Flowers, a piece of jewelry, a new outfit. You choose.

• Treat yourself to something special and maybe even a little decadent – eat whatever you want (calories don’t count on your birthday)

• Be your own date. Choose an activity that you love – a movie, dinner, shopping, or trip to the museum. You decide!

• Unwind and relax before bed. As your solo birthday winds down, find a way to calm and pamper yourself just a bit more. Take a long soak in the tub. Put on those new pajamas. Listen to soothing music.

Hopefully you will have one of your best birthdays. I know I did!

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